November 24th, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Secret Santa + White Elephant Gifts

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Secret Santa + White Elephant Gifts

Need a mystery gift for a Secret Santa or white elephant holiday gift exchange? If your recipient(s) travels, you’ve got your work cut out for you! Here’s the scoop on all the niftiest global gifts you need to help make the season bright.

There are few feelings as wonderful as handing someone a well-chosen, beautifully-wrapped present—but dang, picking the perfect gift is hard! The annual giving season is made that much harder when your shopping list includes someone who loves to travel. These folks, on the whole, aren’t much into material goods. 

This list of Secret Santa and white elephant gifts features a variety of presents: high-end and low-budget; gifts for him and gifts for her. The one universal factor? All work great for those who adore hitting the road.

STOCKING STUFFERS

The La Fresh Travel Lite line of wet wipe products is aimed at travelers and meant to circumvent TSA rules against liquids. Let’s face it, your makeup remover, bug spray, and face wash all take up valuable room—and these clever, easy-open packs of “travel amenities” don’t. Your giftee can clean up their act with shoe polish wipes, hygiene wipes, mosquito repellant wipes, or dozens of others on the La Fresh website, with prices starting from $2.49 for an 8-pack.

Who can’t use another luggage tag? For just $11.50, this gorgeous teal luggage tag makes a pretty, affordable adornment that will quickly distinguish your checked luggage at the baggage claim. Buy a handful for your favorite traveler, or slip one in a white elephant exchange.

Any traveler loves goodies that pack in convenience, and the sporty, hipster-chic waist pack (Jansport, $17) or 4-in-1 plug adaptor with USB charger (Eagle Creek, $50) both make life a little easier for travelers. The former boasts lightweight roominess, while the latter offers an easy-peasy, color-coded system to keep track of what adaptors will help in what countries—150 are supported with the adaptor(s)!

FOR HER

Even the most rough-and-tumble traveler has a few square inches in her pack for something pretty, so consider a compass charm bracelet (by Alex and Ani, $38). It’s light as a feather, but will always remind someone special that home is, indeed, where the heart is.

Those feeling splurge-y can give their Secret Santa recipient a luxe, pretty scarf like this cashmere one by Splendid. It’s spendy at $148, but provides just the right touch of sartorial pep for those who often take a red eye.

Another must-have beauty essential for the globetrotting fashionista is a high-quality dry shampoo (bumble and bumble, $26) that amps volume—adios, hat hair!—and extends style when showers are scarce.

FOR HIM

Guys love tech and cool gadgets. A virtual keyboard (Brookstone, $99) fits the bill when he’s on the go.

Every gentleman needs a nice wallet, and we'll admit a slight bias to this one from our line. It's sleek, spacious, and, at $22, the price is just right.

FOR TECHIES

A solid pair of noise-isolating earbuds will help drown out the snoring of that guy asleep on the bus or plane, and let your giftee enjoy his or her favorite music or podcasts from anywhere in the world. Check out this pair from Apple for $49.95.

FOR ANYONE

Here's the thing about wet weather: it happens (just about) everywhere, and it's likely to truly dampen your travel plans if you are unprepared. That said, just about everyone could use a travel umbrella like this one from Eagle Creek $28.

What’s the best holiday travel gift you ever received? Any glaring omissions from the list? Let us know in the comments!

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Shannon O’Donnell is a long-term traveler on the road since 2008; she travels slowly and supports grassroots tourism along the way. She wrote The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook and founded GrassrootsVolunteering.org to help travelers connect with ethical volunteering and travel opportunities on their round the world travels.

by Shannon ODonnell

Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008; she travels slowly and supports grassroots tourism along the way. She is an acclaimed travel speaker and works with universities and businesses all over the U.S. to talk about supporting developing countries.

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